October 11

“Study Under Caruso”:
Selling Recordings in the Early 20th-Century

A series of focused advertisements by the Victor Talking Machine Company of Camden, NJ began appearing in Musical America in late 1905.  Along with promoting the sale of recordings for the pleasure of listening, the company’s advertisements also promoted their “Red Seal” records as a tool for individual instruction for singers. By securing exclusive contracts with the most revered opera stars of the day, Victor offered people the chance to “study” with their vocal idols.  All one had to do was purchase a Victor Talking Machine, a handful of records, and, listen.


Are you interested in “making great strides forward in you musical education”
… and improving your sense of expression, diction and breathing?


[Musical America, Vol. 4 No. 24 (27 October 1906): 18


Do you want to improve your phrasing?


[Musical America, Vol. 5 No. 2 (24 November 1906): 18]


Did you miss that magic moment from the back row of the opera hall?


[Musical America, Vol. 4 No. 13 (11 August 1906): 14]


Tired of all the painstaking hours of practicing with little to no improvement?
Then take a more leisurely approach.


[Musical America, Vol. 9 No. 16 (27 February 1909): 31]


Do you even need a teacher when you can study with the best vocal instructors at home?


[Musical America, Vol. 10 No. 6 (19 June 1909): 27]


And, of course, learning is a life-long undertaking and
there is always room for improvement.

[Musical America, Vol. 16 No. 10 (13 July 1912): 15]

Caruso listening to Caruso


RIPM search tip:  Select Musical America in the periodical title field of RIPM’s e-Library of Music Periodicals, and search for  “talking machine.” This yields over one-thousand pages of pertinent content.  For more focused results, restrict your search to a span of years.

Copyright 2021. All rights reserved.

Posted October 11, 2017 by Ben Knysak in category "Curios and Chronicles